WU house divided: Naomi Green’s Take

Naomi Green

The presidential nominees held their first debate Friday night, and they both did a terrific job of spelling out the differences between them. I don’t think either candidate changed the mind of a committed voter. For the undecided out there, both accomplished a mission of “This is my stand, this is my view, if you can smell what I’m stepping in, vote for me.” To Senator McCain’s credit, he did what any typical Republican candidate would do: attack, try to inject sound bites, attack, talk in circles, attack, make your opponent the enemy and twist his words, attack, distract, self-promote, and attack some more.

For the majority of the debate, McCain specialized in broad and generalized (if not generic) declarations. Many of these statements Obama agreed with. Republican pundits love to point this out, claiming it’s a testimony to McCain’s wisdom and leadership skills. But take a look at what Obama concurred with. Saying that CEOs need to be held accountable for their corrupt actions, or that Iran should not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons doesn’t make you a political mastermind, it just makes you Captain Obvious. McCain also seemed to pick one solution and cling to it for dear life. Obama looked at the challenges and crises facing America through a multi-faceted lens; he doesn’t just want to band-aid a problem, he wants to get to the cause of it and fix it. Hence the change platform.

Right off the bat, Obama specifically spelled out his opinion of the $700 billion bailout plan in four steps: 1) More oversight; 2) Protect taxpayers; 3) No reward for greedy CEOs; and 4) give homeowners some help. Point blank and period. And Sen. McCain’s response to the same question? He acknowledged the need for oversight and accountability, but finished by saying “it has to have a package with a number of other essential elements to it.” And? That’s it? Are you serious? McCain thinks he can fix the economic crisis by eliminating pork barrel spending, even though he himself has accepted earmarks (though he won’t admit it). Not only does Barack Obama not lie about his earmark spending, he puts it on full display for the public to see, and even encourages them to check out and evaluate the projects he’s requested money for so they can judge the necessity for them. Part of Obama’s solution includes giving tax cuts to Americans who need it the most, the middle class. And the tax increase that McCain loves to pin on Obama? Unless you make over $250,000 a year, or own seven houses and 13 cars, the tax increase won’t apply to you.

When asked what projects they would be willing to sacrifice for the bailout plan, McCain said he wanted to freeze spending “on everything but defense, veteran affairs and entitlement programs.” (Those “entitlement programs” McCain would not elaborate on, but later referred to as “several other vital issues.” That clears it up, Senator, thanks a bunch!) Obama stated that he is committed to investing in energy, which includes the creation of millions of jobs, furthering the nation’s journey toward independence from foreign oil. Obama also suggested that we could also cut spending to the tune of $10 billion per month if we end the war in Iraq.

Now, there’s no denying that John McCain is a military man. Therein lies his passion; therein lies his problem. He is hell-bent on staying the course in Iraq. He continues to display the fact that he’s out of touch with the American people by failing to understand that this war has crippled our economy, ruined our reputation around the world, and allowed the Al-Qaida presence in Afghanistan to flourish and carry out the deadliest year our military has seen since 2002. It is also responsible for the volatile situation now occurring in Pakistan. Where does “Country First” factor in when the majority of the country wants this war to end? Obama has the common sense to realize that our focus needs to be in Afghanistan; why won’t McCain promote a surge in Afghanistan the way he does Iraq? Yet he’ll announce the U.S. is safer now than it was after 9/11, even though Al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden are thriving and McCain won’t even concentrate on the right country? And he has the nerve to mock Obama for intending to take a diplomatic stance, one that includes talking to world leaders first and using military force only when it’s necessary. McCain equated a willingness to speak with Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with approving Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israel agenda. Am I in some sort Twilight Zone where trying to talk out differences to come to a peaceful resolution is a “na’ve” and “dangerous” thing? And I’m supposed to trust his judgment? Thanks, but no thanks.